Q1: What is the best way to prevent conflict in church and among staff?
See “Ounce of Prevention” (#2 Under “Most Common Issues For Ministers”).
Q2: Should I go to a church that fired the previous pastor?
Ultimately the answer hinges on God’s call for you as discerned through prayer. For me the answer was yes, several times. If you go to a congregation that has terminated a minister, know that there will be extra ordinary issues you will have to address. Keep in mind that every church has a personality and culture, it will be your job to learn about those things so you can minister effectively.
Q3: How do I identify a conflicted congregation?
Do your homework prayerfully! Before you go to any church, contact at least two (If not three) previous staff and ask direct questions about why they left and their assessment of the church’s health. Contact pastors and denominational leaders in the city and ask their perspective on the church. Depending on what you are told, ask the Search Team direct questions and weigh their answers carefully. Then pray and follow God’s call.
Q4: What should I do when I realize there is conflict in the church?
Begin by prayerfully asking God to bring peace to the congregation. Prayerfully ask God to give you wisdom to be a peacemaker (Mt 5:9). Then in a loving and compassionate manner, meet face to face with those you perceive to be causing conflict with the goal of restoration and understanding (Gal 6:1-2). Contact me and I will send you a process that you may find helpful.
Q5: What is the best way to handle conflict in between staff?
Begin by praying for the staff members seeking God’s wisdom. Begin by encouraging them to work things out themselves (Mt 18:15-16). If that is not successful, then you may need to mediate the reconciliation process. Contact me and I will send you a process that you may find helpful.
Q6: How should I handle conflict between myself and a staff member?
Pray for God’s peace, wisdom, and guidance. Follow the Scripture as found in Gal 6:1-2; Mt 18:15-16. Contact me and I will send you a process to aid in this endeavor.
Q7: How do I deal with power struggles in the church I serve?
Pray for those you perceive to be in opposition for you, for God to bring unity. Love and encourage them honestly on a regular basis. Treat them with grace, mercy, and kindness. Speak the truth to them in love at all times. In everything conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Phil 1:27). In all things at all times be a person of integrity conducting all your business above the table, accepting whatever happens with grace and mercy.
Q8: When is resignation the best thing to do?
This can only be determined by you, through prayer. Personally, I decided I would not be the source of a congregation disintegrating into ungodly disunity. I refused to be the flashpoint for a split. I was determined not to be the cause for stumbling in the church or community (Mt 18:5-7; Ro 14:13, 21). I did not want the name of Christ to be blasphemed in the community (Ro 2:24). If either I or the church was going to get a black eye, I chose to be the one to do so (1 Cor 6:7). After carefully considering the climate of the church, the positions of the staff and other leaders, talking to trusted counselors, and asking for God’s direction, I made my decision based on those things.
If you’d like to talk through this, fill out a contact information request and I will reply as soon as possible, God willing.
Q9: What is the best way to handle resigning from a church?
With grace, mercy, love, and compassion. Do NOT make accusations, show any anger, or resentment toward anyone. Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel. If a letter of resignation is to be read, it is best to do it on a Wednesday night so as not to disrupt Sunday worship. Regarding a severance package, prayerfully ask God to work in the leadership. It will depend on each congregation’s resources and grace as to the package they will offer. I think six months full salary and benefits are fair, but you will have to negotiate your own severance. It is wise to talk to denominational leaders and pastor friends in these situations. Contact me and I can make suggestions about this process if you’d like.
Q10: What should I tell church members about conflict and my resignation?
Only that which builds up and encourages others. Do not disparage anyone in the church, regardless of what has transpired. Remember, one day you will stand before God and give an account of how you have conducted yourself. You want to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant!”, so act accordingly.